Ben and Jerry (Cohen and Greenfield, respectively) have issued a statement revealing their disappointment about the recent appointment of Unilever executive Yves Couette as CEO of the successful ice cream business they founded in 1978. “We have not decided whether or not to remain with the company,” they said, prompting speculation of a hasty exit for the co-founders who demanded that a share of the company’s profits is always given to charity.
The Anglo-Dutch food giant bought Ben & Jerry’s in August and the hippies-come-capitalists, who both now work on marketing the ice-cream, admit that “as owner, Unilever of course has the legal right to manage Ben & Jerry’s in the way it sees fit.” However they have made it clear that their loyalties to social ideals come above and beyond those to the famous brand.
“We strongly supported a different candidate, a long time member of Ben & Jerry’s board of directors whose commitment to our social policies was clear and established,” their statement revealed.
Unilever spokeman Stephen Milton was anxious to stress that, “once Yves gets there, they will realise he is a very cool guy,” but Ben and Jerry say that while he “seems like a very nice man,” the decision has gone against their wishes.
Meanwhile, the choice of Couette has proved more than unpopular elsewhere in the company. Milton has revealed that during the Frenchman’s introductory meeting at the firm, three other executives said they would also go soon.